Guest blogging remains an effective tactic for generating traffic and inbound links, but not everyone does it right. Our three-part guide will help you devise the right guest blogging strategy for your business.
Whether you own a blog or online business, not being able to get people to notice you will be a major deal-breaker; guest blogging changes this and is also an integral part of any successful SEO strategy.
What Is Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging is the process of having your article published on a blog or publication you do not own or regularly contribute to, often with the expectation of building your brand, increasing your exposure, or building backlinks.
Guest posts are often accompanied by a bio that looks like the one below, and many blogs will allow you to have a link back to your blog inside the content of your guest post:
The key advantage to guest blogging lies in the fact that you can leverage the influence and reach of a blog much bigger and more authoritative than yours to increase your reach and authority online. For example, while your blog currently only gets ten visitors monthly, you could have the opportunity to guest post on a blog that is read by 100,000 people monthly, instantly giving you a chance to create significant awareness for your brand.
Benefits of Guest Blogging
There are several benefits to guest blogging, but here are the most common ones:
- To generate traffic to your website
- To build targeted, often contextual, backlinks that can improve your search rankings
- To boost your brand image and enhance credibility by associating with quality publications
- To create more awareness and increase exposure for your business
- To keep your brand fresh in the mind of people in your niche
How Guest Blogging Has Evolved
Did you know that the first banner ad ever used on the Web was clicked by 78 percent of the people who saw it? In contrast, the average banner ad online today has a click-through rate of 0.06 percent, which means less than 1 in 1,000 people will click it.
This is due to something called “banner blindness.” Over the years, banners have become so ubiquitous that people hardly notice them, even if they don’t have an ad blocker installed.
The evolution of guest blogging is similar to that of banner ads. Guest blogging used to be very effective no matter your approach, and even people who weren’t brilliant writers were reporting massive success from guest blogging. Things have changed drastically though, and it’s no longer as easy to earn thousands of views. More effort now needs to be put into guest blogging to see results.
The same principle applies to guest blogging to build backlinks. It used to be that you could write simple guest posts on low-quality sites to boost your rankings and you would notice a very rapid increase in keyword rankings and organic search traffic to your site. These days you need to write top-notch content and get it placed on high-quality websites for it to move the SEO needle.
While guest blogging is not as it used to be, it is still very much alive; smart individuals and businesses are still getting impressive results from implementing the right guest blogging strategy. In fact, below are some compelling case studies that show the power of guest blogging as a content marketing tactic.
Powerful Guest Blogging Case Studies
- Buffer. One of the most epic examples is the social sharing app, Buffer. Buffer is a social media app that started in 2010 and now generates $3 million in annual revenue with more than 2 million registered users. Guest blogging played a significant role in Buffer’s early rise, and according to Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich, Buffer got its first 100,000 users in nine months solely by securing strategic guest posts on top industry blogs.
- Groove. While the Buffer example might appear dated (2010 is a long time ago in Internet years), Groove is another unique testament to the power of guest blogging. In June 2014, Groove CEO Alex Turnbull published an article revealing that he was able to reach a combined audience of over 1 million people and grow the Groove blog to over 10,000 subscribers in a short period of time thanks to effectively using guest posts. In his own words: “There’s no faster or cheaper way to reach massive audiences than guest blogging.“
- Helpscout. At a point, Helpscout customer champion Gregory Ciotti has seen guest blogging on every major publication online. The result was a significant boost in traffic and links to the Helpscout website, which further helped content on their website rank higher in the search engines, leading to more traffic from search engines. With over 36,000 subscribers to their blog, mainly thanks to guest blogging, Helpscout proves that guest blogging does work.
- Bamidele Onibalusi. He decided to focus on leveraging guest blogging to improve his search rankings, and he got impressive results. He was able to increase his search traffic by 342.35 percent in one year; he went from 50,885 to 174,207 search visitors in a year solely by using guest blogging for link building.
The above are good examples of effective guest blogging, and they show that it’s still a valid method. The majority of those who fail, do so because they don’t do it right.
Some Common Guest Blogging Mistakes
If you’re like the average content marketer, there’s a chance that you’re struggling with guest blogging; most marketers use the wrong approach towards guest blogging and, often don’t see significant results.
You can get results from guest posts by outsourcing it to a qualified organization that understands the process, like Digital Current, or by mastering the right way to do it.
The aim of part two and three is to teach you how to get results from guest blogging, but here are some quick signs that you’re bound to fail:
- You’re targeting a lot of low-quality backlinks. According to SEO expert Rand Fishkin, more links are not always better; websites with tens or hundreds of qualified links can easily outrank sites with thousands or tens of thousands of crappy links. To get results, focusing just on volume won’t do the trick. Indeed, you sometimes have to consider quantity too, but this shouldn’t be at the detriment of quality; fewer high authoritative links are usually better than lots of low-quality links.
- Your website conversion structure is flawed. If you run an online business, you’re probably not guest blogging just to improve your traffic and visitor count, but to boost your conversion rate too. Unfortunately, no amount of guest blogging will help you if your e-commerce site isn’t already well optimized to capitalize on that increased traffic.
- You don’t understand how guest blogging works. This encapsulates a host of other reasons, and as we noted earlier in this article, guest blogging has changed over the years; if you’re not in tune with these changes, or if don’t understand how it works, you can be assured of failure.
Stay Tuned for Part 2: Preparation & Research
If you want to see actual results from your guest blogging efforts, don’t waste time trying to go it alone. Instead, stay tuned for part two of our practical guide to guest blogging where we will explain how to prepare properly and research, so you know exactly what kind of content will succeed and where to find high-quality, authoritative blogs.